Toys R Us has teamed up with the National Lekotek Center, an organization that helps disabled children integrate into family and community activities, to create a "Toy Guide for Differently-Abled Kids." The 52-page catalog, available here, is above all about selling toys, but it does use criteria for each toy to say what kind of play or sensory experience it's designed to promote, such as spoken language, gross motor skills and social interaction. The catalog is available in Toys R Us stores starting this week.
Toys R Us has been doing this guide since 1994 with Lekotek, which evaluates toys to see if they are suitable for children with physical and developmental disabilities. See page 3 of the catalog for Lekotek's "Top 10 Tips for Buying Toys," a list of questions to help friends and relatives match a toy or gift to a child's abilities. Questions particularly useful to kids with autism spectrum disorders include: "Will the child be an active participant during use? Will the toy encourage social engagement with others?"